Amusingly, to underscore the PB 18's driver focus — when driving solo, the driver's seat can be moved to the center of the car — engineers dubbed the project 'Level Zero' in reference to the various 1-5 levels of autonomous driving capability.
“We want to offer the driver an experience that is otherwise available only in a racing car like the Audi R18," explained Gael Buzyn is Head of the Audi Design Loft in Malibu, the studio that produced the concept car.
"That’s why we developed the interior around the ideal driver’s position in the center. Nevertheless, our aim was to also give the PB 18 e-tron a high degree of everyday usability, not just for the driver, but also for a potential passenger.”
So the driver's seat can also slide to the left to leave space for a passenger to ride along on the right side of the cockpit.
A lightweight mix of aluminum, carbon and multi-material body composites helps keep curb weight to 3,417.2 lbs. despite the hefty mass of a solid state battery pack powering the car's trio of electric motors.
One powers the front wheels while the other two drive the rears for a total system peak power of 764 horsepower and 612 lb.-ft. torque, which vault the PB 18 e-tron to 60 mph in just two seconds.
The 95 kilowatt-hour solid-state battery pack is liquid cooled and provides a driving range of 310 miles. For comparison, a Tesla Model S P100 has a 100 kWh battery pack and a driving range of about 265 miles.
Charging can be done with an 800-volt connection that can do the job in just 15 minutes, or through a wireless inductive charger built into the floor, similar to the wireless charging system employed by many smartphones.
We may be moving away from traditional gasoline-fuel supercars, but Audi's PB 18 e-tron demonstrates that we won't be leaving dynamic styling or exciting performance behind.